Although not even open a full year, BiXi Beer (pronounced Bee-
Guests clamor up the stairs to sit in BiXi’s sunlit second-floor dining room, or cozy up to a booth in the dim-lit first floor, complete with a handpainted mural by DC Comics artist Eduardo Risso and scenes of the brewhouse.
The menu pays homage to the distinct cuisines of Asia, ranging from Thai and Chinese to Vietnamese and Korean. And thanks to head brewmaster Eymard Freire, the beers pay a similar nod.
Brazilian-born, German-trained, Chicago-working, Freire is something of a perfectionist when it comes to conceptualizing and brewing the beers that pair with BiXi’s menu, putting thought into how each beer not only works for customers, but with the rest of Bixi’s tap menu.
For instance, “the Chelonian Lair and Unspoken Rule are the yin and yang of BiXi,” said Freire. The first is a dark, smoky brew mixed with Szechuan peppercorns, while Unspoken Rule is an otherworldly crisp lager with a subtle finish of fragrant tea.
“To me, these beers really emphasize what Bixi is and work well as contrasts to each other,” he said.
Freire hails from Brazil, but trained with both the Siebel Institute here in Chicago and the Doemens Academy in Munich prior to that. The extensive German training comes through in Freire’s philosophy to making beer: “I want to make beer that tastes like beer.”
While a glance at BiXi’s beer menu might include a number of exotic ingredients-Jasmine rice, Szechuan peppercorns
Freire’s straightforward approach shines through in his approach to other creative endeavors, mainly his new podcast. Freire’s new podcast, entitled “BiXi Beer Podcast,” aims to be an outlet for brewers to get out their frustrations and mistakes.
“Brewers are inherently whiners,” Freire said. “With this podcast, I wanted brewers, and others in the industry, to be able to share their mistakes and frustrations, so that we can learn from each other.”
While the podcast will certainly highlight and promote Freire’s beers, don’t expect him to start pitching to advertisers.
“This podcast is personal to me, I don’t want to have to sell myself,” he said.
Freire does admit that the podcast is very technical right now, and might make it a bit more general for the non-brewer listeners.
“BiXi Beer Podcast” isn’t the only creative outlet Freire is working on: he’s making
Freire, an avid gamer (ask him how many hours he’s put into “Destiny 2”), is working on a video game out of his passion for brewing.
The untitled game is from the perspective of a lab technician in a brewery. The game will be a top-down, turn-based RPG (role-playing game for the uninitiated) and will see the player battle enemies including pests that ravage hops harvests and “the tax man” as a final boss (brewery-owners will get that one).
You can listen to Freire’s podcast here.